Car Maintenance 101: 6 Things Everyone Should Know
One of the biggest moments in your teenage or young adult life was learning how to drive a car.
It’s a skill nearly everyone in the world has and is downright necessary in some countries around the world.
While most people know how to drive a car, not many people know a lot about car maintenance. When your car is acting up, many people either take it to the mechanic or simply hope it goes away.
Today, we’re going to go over a few basic things that you should know when it comes to taking care of your car and making sure it runs correctly. You don’t have to be the biggest car junkie to know that these are important tips that will come in handy one day.
1. Changing a Tire
No matter when you get a flat, it’s the worst possible time. Changing a tire is something that everyone should know how to do and it’s a lot easier than it looks.
While we’ll leave you to check out full videos or instructional manuals elsewhere, changing your tire involves a jack, a wrench, and a spare tire. Make sure the car is on a flat surface with the emergency brake on before removing the lug nuts and then the flat tire. Put the spare tire on, replace the lug nuts, and tighten them up. There, you did it! Remember, your tires should be paired properly with your vehicle, so if you are going to buy a used tire, be sure to check the tire speed rating, load rating, and sizing to ensure it is the right tire for your car.
2. Checking the Oil
Perhaps the easiest item on this list, checking the oil takes about 20 seconds and should be done when your car is off and cold (being shut off for at least an hour).
You’ll have to take the dipstick out and make sure your oil levels are high enough. Most dipsticks have little notches on them to show you where the oil level is. If it’s low, it’s time for a change. Simply wipe the dipstick off and put it back in.
Your oil is what keeps your car engine lubricated and from overheating. If your engine has no oil, expect everything to break and a hefty bill to arrive.
3. Replacing Headlights or Brake Lights
You might not know your brake light is out until someone tells you. When that happens, they’re very easy to replace and can be done in just under half an hour.
Usually, the hardest part is removing your frame, which takes a bit of extra pushing and pulling just to make sure it’s off. Once you do that, it’s all downhill from there as you’ll have to disconnect the electric connector, take out the bulb, put the new one in, and reconnect the connector.
4. Checking the Brakes
The easiest way to check your brakes is to listen. A squeaky sound every now and then usually isn’t a big deal, but if you hear constant squeaking it’s time to check them out.
Also, if you’re noticing it takes a long time to brake your vehicle, that’s worth a checkup as well.
Checking the brakes comes in two parts: the fluid and the brake pads. Your fluid is in a tiny box above the brake pedal under your hood. Your brake pads are a bit more difficult to check. You’ll have to jack the tire up and look at their condition. If you’re not sure what to look for, those that are falling apart or look worn are usually a bad sign.
Brake pads are one item you shouldn’t skimp on. Make sure you’re buying top-quality brake pads, your car will thank you.
5. Replacing Your Wipers
Another quick and easy task, replacing your wipers is cheap and quick. If you start to notice streaks or they’re not actually wiping anything off, it’s time for a trip to your auto store.
The most important thing is that you make sure you’re purchasing the right size. Different cars have different size wipers, so check your manual to make sure you’re getting the right kind.
The installation also varies from vehicle to vehicle so refer to your manual as well. All in all, it’s incredibly easy and can make sure you see everything for your next road trip.
6. Jumpstarting Your Car
OK, OK, it’s not really maintenance but it is incredibly important to know how to jumpstart a vehicle. Even though it may be hard to remember which goes where you need to make sure you have it drilled into your head.